The Power of Community

10/10/17
WRITTEN BY: Mila Ferrer
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Editor’s Note: Mila is a proud mother of a T1D and captain in Beyond Type 1’s POWER UP campaign. You can donate to her page today!


community

noun, often attributive com·mu·ni·ty \ kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē \

a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.

 

Our society is composed of multiple individuals who collectively work toward bigger goals. Humans are social creatures that need support and companionship, especially in stressful situations. When we face a diabetes diagnosis, one of the best ways to cope with it is by recognizing that the diabetes online community (DOC) is eager and willing to be there for you.

Who belongs to the DOC? Although some people may think the DOC is a resource only for the person with diabetes (PWD), the reality is that anyone and everyone touched by diabetes — parents, siblings, partners, friends, and family — are welcomed. Their perspectives are appreciated since each person brings a fresh and different point of view of living with diabetes.

Online diabetes communities promote learning, reflection, shared practices and resources. Having online friends with whom you share a health condition can become a powerful tool to collaborate, share knowledge and experiences that can promote better treatment decisions and provide solutions to daily life challenges.

The care for chronic health conditions demands a multidisciplinary approach designed to serve the needs of individuals to optimize outcomes. In many cases, the absence of this interdisciplinary team and formal attention forces people with diabetes to inquire and look for answers in other sources.

Online communities offer several benefits for people living with a chronic disease:

Encouragement and motivation

Diabetes management takes physical and mental strength. Our communities can be a great place to learn and share an experience with others that surely will understand our daily challenges and struggles living with this condition.

Advice and general information

You can find answers and help from our expert members and healthcare professional friends. If you have a specific question about your treatment or even your diagnosis, you will be able to find answers here.

Success stories

You will meet inspiring members who won’t be defined or stopped by diabetes.

Convenience

Yes, we understand we live in a busy world. In-person support groups have many advantages; however, there will be times when traveling distances won’t be possible, and online communities will provide the convenience from home or anywhere you have an internet connection.

Knowing that you or your family are not alone in this constant diabetes balancing act, empowers you to seek new and better ways to manage your condition. Community heals! We all speak the same “language,” have the same goals and dream of a cure. But until a cure comes, let the diabetes online community be your companion, your support and a lot of times your guidance. You don’t need to be an active participant or a loud voice to be part of the DOC, every one of us has a different role. What matters is that you are aware the DOC exists and is there for you when you need it.

Because of our busy schedules, we might forget or overlook the power and resourcefulness of our community, which could make living with diabetes a bit easier. It could be something as simple as a question about our everyday necessities or something more complex such as an Open APS setup. The DOC can empower its members, and that can lead to participation in life-changing diabetes conferences and events, support groups, a fun and energetic tweet chat and even advocacy efforts.

Thanks to the advocacy efforts of the diabetes community we’ve seen more diabetes inertia in places such as the FDA, resulting in faster technology and medications approvals. As a result of these advocacy efforts, patients now have a seat at the table where many decisions are discussed and made about PWD.

For the last 10 years, the online communities TuDiabetes and EsTuDiabetes have been a place for people to gather and talk “diabetes.” Among the most popular topics you can find in the communities are:

  • New Technologies
  • Treatments
  • Emotional Health
  • Diabetes Troubleshooting
  • Nutrition

TuDiabetes and EsTuDiabetes are communities on the Web where people with diabetes or their loved ones can find support, help each other and share their experiences and what they do every day to stay healthy living with diabetes. We invite you to visit our forums and join the online conversations. Sharing your experiences can help others, and that is one the best feelings ever. Let’s talk diabetes, be empowered and stay healthy.


Learn more about the DOC and how you can join!



Mila Ferrer

Mila is a tireless advocate for more and better diabetes education for the Hispanic community. Her youngest son, Jaime, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three. Recognized as a “Diabetes Leader” by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), and as a Top Influential Latina Blogger by LATISM.